It depends on how I look at it

I am a runner, first and foremost. I struggle to throw a ball further than 10 feet, I’ll jump out of the way of an oncoming frisbee, and it takes me at least 20 minutes to ease myself into a pool of water where I will successfully swim one lap before feeling like I’m on Everest without an oxygen tank.

This is all to say, despite how useful it can be to one’s training regimen, I am not very good about cross-training (unless you count walking to the ice cream store after dinner as ‘cross-training). So, unless I really need to, I rarely schedule a day to do something aside from running to supplement my training. But every once in awhile, John suggests we take a trip and spend a day outdoors. Which is almost always, really fun.

At least for me, no matter how slow I walk, going up a mountain is rarely easy (this is even more true when I’m wearing a pack). There’s usually a point where I’m huffing and puffing, and certainly a lot of adding and removing layers throughout the hike as exertion levels fluctuate. By the end of the day, there are always a few muscles that I haven’t heard from in awhile, reminding me that they exist and they’re a bit angry about my recent endeavors.

photo 1
Hiking up Mt. Whiteface on Thanksgiving day. We just finished walking up what seemed like a 90 degree vertical before arriving in these beautiful short trees coated in snow.
photo 2
Thanksgiving dinner. Mac and Cheese never tasted so good. It was also very cold that night (single digits), so this photo was taken with me basically inside the fire.
photo 3
Hiking out the next morning.

Over the past few months, while you haven’t heard a peep from me, we’ve taken a trip or two. When these occasions arise, they often require an early start, a decent amount of driving, and a full day (or more) of walking. I’ve learned over the years to not always stress out about when I’m going to ‘get my run in’.  So while it may not be pre-planned in my training schedule, I consider these days cross-training. This has helped me enjoy these hikes more, stress less about what I might have previously considered a 0 day, and be a little less rigid about training. Maybe to some, this all seems obvious. But it’s easy to get caught up in sticking to a specific plan. Last year, we spent a week in the grand canyon in the midst of marathon training and I didn’t run a step for over 6 days. But I still ran a PR at Boston in the spring.

photo 4
A recent trip to Peaks Island off the coast of Portland. It snowed all weekend and I was sick. 3 days off from running, but a lot of walking!

All this to say that I still think it’s very important to have a plan/schedule to make sure I’m getting adequate recovery from my hard days, but sometimes things come up and I’ve learned that, for me, it’s best to look at these as beneficial opportunities or cross-training, rather than otherwise. Sometimes, it’s just about perspective.

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